Dealing with Rejection

Our typical bedtime routine these days ends with my wife tucking each of the kids into bed. Lately, though, thanks to scheduling conflicts and her feeling under the weather, I’ve been the bedtime guy, usually doing the whole thing myself.

Last night, we were both there at bedtime. We did the beginning of the routine together, and then my wife, who is still not one hundred percent, caught my eye.

“How about I tuck one of them in,” she said, “and you do the other?”

“Sounds great. Who do you want to do?” I smiled. “Just choose your favorite.”

Both the kids’ mouths dropped open.

“I love them both the same,” their momma said.

“Choose me!” they both shouted at the same time.

“I want momma!”

“No, me! Me!”

“What?” I said. “No one wants me?”

“It’s my turn,” my youngest said. “Last time you tucked me in. I get Momma this time.”

“Na-ah,” his older brother said. “Let’s flip a coin.”

“Flip a coin to see who gets stuck with being tucked in by daddy?” I said.

My wife covered her grin with her hand.

“Fine.” I flipped and my oldest won the toss.

“I choose Momma!” he said triumphantly.

I took his dejected brother to bed, tucked him quietly in, started singing his good night song, then bopped him with a pillow. He exploded with laughing. So I tickled him and bopped him again. “Hey,” he gasped between his giggles. “This is supposed to be quiet time!”

After I was done with him, I went to his brother’s room. It was dark and quiet.

“Hey big guy,” I whispered. “I just wanted to say good night the daddy way.”

He sleeps on the top bed of a bunk bed. He raised his head to look over its edge at me. The light shining from the door behind me showed he had the sappiest expression you can imagine on his face. “Aww,” he said softly.

I hit him square on the face with the pillow.

He fell back laughing.

“Good night,” I said, bopping him again.

He laughed and sat up. “You got me, daddy.”

“Good night, big guy. Sleep tight.”

“Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” I closed the door and tossed my bopping pillow back onto the couch.

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